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Cancer survivors George and Margaret tell story

George and Margaret Conover of Ferron share their cancer success stories.

To begin Emery County's Relay for Life 2010, we honor and remember those who have battled the dark villain valiantly and taught us many truths in the process, and we salute survivors. This year's Relay theme is: "Save more lives, celebrate more birthdays!"

In that spirit we spotlight J. George and Margaret Conover of Ferron. Seventy married years together, three children, 20 grandchildren, 62 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren...and three separate cancer episodes. The first cancer was in Margaret - uterine cancer discovered in November, 1989 while the couple was serving an LDS mission in Palmyra, New York. It was only a matter of days between the day she was diagnosed and her surgery. Known as a silent killer, Margaret's cancer played the part perfectly as there were absolutely no signs or symptoms present at her annual check-up in March of the same year. There was a six week recovery period after a 43-hour implanted radiation treatment. George's support was restricted to two minute visits at 10 feet away. They had only themselves to rely on until they were able to drive back home to Ferron.

In January, 1994, Margaret would again be forced to battle the disease. This time it was breast cancer found during a routine mammogram. Traveling to Provo for a lympectomy and eight weeks of near-daily external radiation placed a new strain on the couple's time and vehicle. This would be the first year Active Re-entry would provide transportation to/from cancer treatments in Provo for patients of Carbon and Emery counties. Margaret discovered a new group of friends riding the van.

One year later, in 1995 prostate cancer was revealed in George. Suspicious symptoms persisted for three years but eluded diagnosis. Finally, an elevated PSA (prostate-specific antigen) provided direction for treatment. Daily external radiation in Provo was ordered. George and Margaret parked their camp trailer on the hospital parking lot to conserve energy depleted by treatments.

George experienced the additional set-backs of two heart attacks-one before, and one after the cancer. He is "grateful for medical advances and treatment" for both conditions.

Today, George and Margaret have advice to share: "exercise every day, eat the way you should, and go to your check-ups." Margaret declares, "There is life after cancer." George predicts he will "have eight more birthdays" to bring him to an even 100.

Thanks to cancer detection and treatments, George and Margaret have not only celebrated 36 more birthdays between them, but relish the birthdays of dozens of progeny.

Come help George and Margaret celebrate at Relay for Life, June 11 at Emery High School track and be generous in your donation to defeat cancer.

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